Dish breaks ground for first 5G site in Orlando

Dish Network isn’t saying much about it yet, but last week, it broke ground for its first 5G site in Orlando, Florida.  

Dish’s radio hardware vendor for the site is Fujitsu, but the company isn’t commenting much beyond that, according to a spokesperson. The news was shared on LinkedIn.

The groundbreaking in Orlando isn’t particularly remarkable on its own, but as part of a string of moves by Dish, it certainly points to a company on the move rather than one hoarding loads of spectrum, a reputation it acquired over many years in wireless. Examples of other sites are proliferating, including this one in D.C. 

Dish already has announced a bevy of vendors for its standalone (SA) 5G network, which will be based on open architecture and fully virtualized from Day One. Dish has committed to serving 70% of the U.S. population with 5G by June 2023. Plans call for launching its first market in Las Vegas during the third quarter of this year.

Information emerged last month about Dish’s website for taking signups for its new 5G network. The website, dubbed Project Genesis, invites people to put their emails into a system to receive notifications about when Dish’s service is available in their areas.

RELATED: Dish starts taking signups for its 5G network

In some ways, Dish is pivoting its reputation from one of a spectrum hoarder to that of a trendsetter. It’s betting big on the cloud in a partnership with AWS that was announced earlier this year.

Last week, on a much bigger scale, AT&T made the unprecedented move of shifting its existing 5G mobile core network to Microsoft Azure’s hybrid cloud. It’s in part a validation of the strategy of greenfield operators like Dish, making it a lot easier for young operators to get funding as not only the cost structure but also the risk profile becomes substantially lower, according to industry analyst Roger Entner in a post for Fierce.

“On the other hand, the expected low-cost structure that greenfield operators were expecting is diminishing,” Entner wrote.